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The Goal

Family & Consumer Sciences educators are dedicated to working toward increasing the number of Oklahomans maintaining or improving their health through safe food handling, preparation, storage, and home food preservation practices.

Why is this an issue for Oklahoma?

Disease-causing agents, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites can be spread by food. Protecting the health of Oklahoma residents through properly preparing, cooking, storing, and preserving food is an urgent need. Below are some statistics that food safety programs can address:

  • Foodborne disease causes an estimated 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths each year in the United States.  
  • Five foodborne bacterial pathogens, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7, and E. coli non-O157:H7, have an estimated annual cost of $6.9 billion.  These costs are associated with medical expenses, lost productivity, and death.  
  • Fruits and vegetables can be contaminated by bacteria present in the soil or water where it is grown, after it is harvested, or during preparation and storage. It’s important to know and follow recommended food safety measures to avoid foodborne illness. 
  • In Oklahoma, high summer temperatures create an ideal environment for the rapid growth of bacteria if outdoor cooking and picnic foods are not properly handled. 
  • Unsafe food preservation methods can lead to foodborne illness. Home canned vegetables are a common cause of botulism outbreaks in the United States. Failure to follow research-based, tested food preservation recipes and methods can lead to foods not being safely processed.  
  • Oklahomans are impacted by severe weather from winter storms, thunderstorms, and tornados which can result in the loss of electricity.  During storms and power outages, health risks from contaminated or spoiled foods may increase. Knowledge of safe food handling, cooking, and storage practices can help prevent food poisoning and foodborne illness.

Possible Program Outcomes


  • Safe food handling practices
  • Safe storage of foods
  • Safe and effective home food preservation practices
  • Food preparation skills
  • Quality of life
  • Healthcare savings


  • Food waste
  • Risk of Foodborne illness 

Food Safety Programs

  • Food Safety - Participants learn how to decrease their risk of foodborne illness by practicing safe food handling methods. 
  • Home Food Preservation Workshops - Participants will learn safe and effective home food preservation practices. Workshops options include water bath canning, pressure canning, freezing, dehydration, pickling, and judging home preserved foods. 
  • Put It Up! Food Preservation for Youth - Youth participants learn and practice hands-on safe home food preservation methods. Workshops include canning, freezing, drying, jams and jellies, and pickling. 
  • Food Safety with Power Outages - Participants learn what they can do before, during, and after power outages to keep their food safe. 
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